Welcome to Paducah Prose Writers!

We are looking for writers who need a little constructive critisizm and can dish it out as well as take it. If I'm talking about you, bring a few pages of anything (the good, the bad, and the really rough drafts) and read for us. And don't worry, we're all as shy, nervous, and scared as you are!
All gramatical geniuses, professional editors, and english majors are also welcome, no reading submissions required.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Elements of Publishing: 1. Query Letters

Recently, I was approached by someone asking for a list of publishers to send a manuscript for publishing. I both can, and will help if you want.

However, I will very much stress to you that before attempting to publish you must have a strong idea of what is going on in the minds of agents and editors.
Before you approach anyone -AT ALL - you must have a query letter.

A query letter is a one page description of your books plots and protagonist. What this needs to include is: WHO the book is about; WHAT happens to them; the CHOICES they have to make; and, the CONSEQUENCES of the decision.

It should also include the books working title (what you call it-the name will get changed) and the word count for the complete work.

This sounds really simple, but it isn't. This is the most blogged about topic in publishing. This is your sell for your book and the only thing that most agents or editors will ever see. They do not want your manuscript. They are already drowning in what they call "slush piles". Stacks of manuscripts that they actually wanted to read. If you send them an unsolicited book, they through it away (or delete it if by e-mail).

It is harsh, but it is true. They don't want to hurt you, it isn't personal. This is the heart and soul of business.

Here are some great links about query letters. Read them, learn from them, don't get discouraged. You are not alone, Paducah Prose Writers will work through this together.

Query Shark -the snarliest, but most helpful agent on the net. You have to exchange niceties for real feedback, which she gives.

Pub Rants Kristin Nelson will always have the honor of being the first agent to reject me. I'd like to think its because I haven't perfected my query letter. She is the agent of Lisa Shearin, a writer I really enjoy. Ms. Nelson is a good agent who has sold a lot of best sellers. At current date she has 88 posts just on query letters.

BookEnds, LLC is a literary agency, they are nice, and they are honest about the industry. The link here is for queries; but please, use them as a resource for all your writing needs.
Toasted Cheese (contributed by Niaz K. - Thank you) A comprehensive query article, covering not only novels, but also articles. I am not familiar with this site, but from this article I know they will be thoroughly perused.

If you google query, you get a lot of scary crap that doesn't really translate to what a writer can do. start with these sites. As intimidating as these sites can be, they are better than agents and editors out there claiming they only way you'll ever get published is if you've been published. Starting out is hard, but you can do it.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff. Here is another link about query letters from my friends at Toasted Cheese. http://www.toasted-cheese.com/ab/03-05.htm